An open letter to anonymous victims of abuse,
You don’t want to be a victim. You do not want to be seen as weak, scared and in many instances, doubted.
When dealing with abuse, the first assumption and what is often platformed, is to run straight away to report it. But you will likely find yourself here, reading this – in the interim. And this interim can be days, month or years.
In light of recent discussions in the news, we believe that it is vital that if you are a victim of abuse, that you have the information you need in order to understand what has happened and the freedom to decide your next steps. It’s your experience and your story, it is yours to do with as you wish.
So what now?
You are in a very uncertain point in your life and your will have many questions. But it likely feels like there is no one to answer them. Common questions you may ask are:
- Did I provoke it?
- What did I do?
- What will people think of me?
What these questions are doing are putting the blame on yourself. And it is important to take that off the table. You can start to do this by seeing the experience objectively. If you heard your same story but from someone else, what would you think of it?
How you feel then is your authentic response. And you would never put the blame on that mirrored vicim.
Understanding your own narrative
This is your trauma, take ownership. You may have heard many times to speak up, but no one can take away your time to process and accept your own narrative in this situation.
In instances where one vicim goes public, which is then followed by a stream of other victims coming forward – that doesn’t need to put pressure on when you feel ready.
When many victims come forward, it is because there is felt sense of permission to be heard. Which is why high-profile reports should have no reflection on how and when you speak up.
In most cases of abuse, it can be lonely and isolating because it is just you, and no one else is feeling the way you are feeling. This time following what has happened is precious and should be used to allow you to become ready to speak.
This interim is a scary, unknown yet vital time for any victim. Within that time, you can still find a mental health practitioner to allow regular and respected time for yourself to reflect.
Often during therapy, abuse need not be mentioned for a long time, or even at all, but finding someone to connect with you on a weekly basis is a hugely beneficial step to healing and recovering as much of your old self as possible.